While Audi, Mercedes-AMG, and other luxury automakers hold performance driving programs at various race tracks across the U.S. and abroad, years ago Porsche decided to take a different tack. Now operating in seven different locations around the world, its Porsche Experience Centers are basically automotive playgrounds that showcase the brand’s performance heritage and contemporary racing efforts while also providing a facility for customers to build out custom specifications in the Personal Design Studio. The most interesting feature of the PECs, though, is the Driver Development Tracks. These purpose-built proving grounds allow drivers to put the capabilities of Porsche’s various vehicles to the test – whether that’s the at-limit handling of a Cayman or the off-road prowess of a Cayenne.
Tuners. Hot-rodders. Street racers. They’re called by different names, come in different shapes and sizes, and wave flags of loyalty to all manner of bizarre and obscure icons, but they all share the same basic desire: To take a perfectly good car and make it go faster.
For these enthusiasts, “more” is never enough, and “too much” is usually when things are just getting started. In the past, the way to go faster was to stuff a bigger engine into a smaller car. As the genre became more nuanced, more carburetors were added along with freer-flowing exhausts to get more air and fuel into that engine. That drive eventually led to fuel injection, forced induction, dual-fuel setups, and more.
With Porsche having secured itself an all-electric vehicle, the laws of trickle-down manufacturing dictate that Audi is the next on Volkswagen Group’s docket for performance-focused electrification. Using the J1 performance platform that underpins Porsche’s Taycan, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has reported that its own E-Tron GT is nearing completion — assuring us that it’ll will meet the bar in terms of “quality and progressiveness” in a handful of announcements on Thursday.
Probably the most important of these was that Audi would be ready to commence production at the end of this year at Böllinger Höfe, near Neckarsulm, alongside the R8. However the company leaked a few additional details, including that the E-Tron (which the brand stylizes in all lower-case letters, bleh) will come in an RS variant.
While car fires may not be commonplace, they still happen. Your author saw a Buick Century burning itself into nothing along the West Side Highway not more than three months ago. Local media referenced it as the probable cause for midday delays, but it would have earned its own story had it been a rarer model.
Exotics and electrics garner headlines when they do their best impression of kindling; regular cars only get attention when they’re catching fire en masse. In addition to the warm feeling one gets when learning a car they can’t afford has destroyed itself, there are loads of people who are curious about the dependability of burgeoning technologies. Hypercars are often on the bleeding edge of available tech and are assembled in low volumes. As a result, eyebrows are raised anytime one goes up in smoke for no apparent reason.
Electrics vehicles are in a similar situation. Reportedly poised to take over the world someday, they’ve yet to saturate the market and still stand out wherever they’re parked. Battery fires, which offer the departments tasked with fighting them new challenges, have also become a point of interest after a batch of EVs in Asia turned up the heat.
Tesla Model S sales have taken a backseat to the electric sedan’s hot-selling Model 3 sibling, but the model remains a valuable asset for the automaker. For one thing, it offers the most range of any Tesla vehicle. Now, buyers of both the Model S and X can expect greater driving distances, all thanks to a product upgrade added several months ago.
Real-world range is another matter, and on that front there’s reason for Porsche Taycan buyers to smile.
As one would expect with an electric model, the first iterations of the Porsche Taycan revealed to the public were the high-performing Turbo and Turbo S variants. Hotter models land with a bigger splash (and earn their maker more money), so it was no surprise to see Porsche keep lowlier versions on the back burner. One surprise was the Turbo’s range: 201 miles, drawn from a 93.4 kWh battery pack. Hardly an industry-beating figure, especially for a six-figure car.
Now, the EPA has bestowed a rating on the Turbo’s more muscular sibling, the Turbo S. With an identical battery and extra oomph on tap — 750 horsepower — the Turbo S manages a 192-mile figure. Deal breaker, or irrelevant?
Porsche has taken payments from 30,000 European customers eager to be among the first to drive the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, the Taycan sedan. The number of reservations exceeded the automaker’s expectations, according to CEO Oliver Blume.
It also gives some amount of hope that electric vehicles still have a place in the premium market space. EV sales remain weak and high-end models like Jaguar’s E-Pace and Audi’s e-tron have struggled, though both have suffered supply-related struggles since entering production.
While Porsche’s Taycan has been praised as unquestionably worthy of the Porsche name, it’s also subject to the brand’s (ahem) aggressive pricing structure. Gone are the days when you can purchase a basement-level Porsche 944 for the modern equivalent of $20,000. The cheapest model currently occupying the automaker’s portfolio is the 718, which sets you back 57 grand before you’ve added a single option.
When the Taycan debuted as Porsche’s first purely electric vehicle a number of weeks back, the model’s $150,900 (before destination) MSRP was expected. Porsche rolled out the higher-end “Turbo” trims first, with promises of more budget-minded models to follow. That car arrived today, and it costs $105,150.
After Porsche’s Taycan secured its status as the fastest electric production vehicle ever to grace the Nürburgring, Tesla Motors was keen to steal the title. This evolving rivalry also resulted in Elon Musk tossing some light shade at the German manufacturer over its liberal use of the word “turbo.” What followed were some sedan-based lap records set by the American company at Laguna Seca, which was little more than a distraction from the main event while Tesla got its ducks in a row.
In Nürburg, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S set the highly impressive time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds in August. The following month, Tesla starting running the Model S. This week, reports coming in from Germany claim the American manufacturer set an unofficial time of 7 minutes and 23 seconds. But there are issues with Tesla’s record-breaking run.
The one thing we don’t know about Porsche’s sexy and prohibitively expensive Taycan EV happens to be one of the most important aspects of any electric car: its range. While many of you (read: almost certainly all of you) have no use for the Taycan and couldn’t afford one without a Brinks holdup, the newly revealed model is nonetheless making waves.
Mostly among argumentative nerds, mind you, but bear with us.
Call it pettiness, call it schadenfreude, call it whatever you like, but it’s quite enjoyable watching an established and storied automaker attempt to beat Tesla at its own game. The Fremont, California-based automaker had it coming after years of pencil-snapping pronouncements by its larger-than-life CEO. And maybe there’s some satisfaction to be had on the part of Tesla for creating a segment other rivals want to carve a slice out of.
But about that range…
Perhaps it’s both. After four long years of teasing, Porsche pulled the wraps off its Taycan electric car on Wednesday, lifting the sheet at a glitzy affair overlooking Niagara Falls.
The four-door EV is sleek, sensuous, fast, expensive, and without a doubt Tesla’s worst nightmare. Why mention the chief rival of Porsche’s new offering? Well, because Tesla’s Model S 100D came first, and it’s still a significant money-maker for the hard-pressed automaker. But Porsche is Porsche — status comes standard with each purchase, and the Taycan brings that desirable badge into the growing realm of hot electrics.
So, what does the Taycan offer?
Even though Porsche’s September Taycan debut is set in stone, it just can’t help itself with the teasers. While the images probably won’t mirror the production version exactly (that paint job certainly won’t fly), Porsche seems to be implying the bodywork seen here is headed for the assembly line.
From what we can see, there’s a lot left over from the Mission E. The overall look has softened slightly, but the broader strokes of the concept vehicle remain largely intact. Take the headlamps, for example. The overall shape has changed, resulting in something more in line with the rest of the brand’s lineup. However, they maintain the same bulb layout as the Mission E.
While Porsche has already confirmed its first-ever all-electric model for a September debut, parading it around in Mission E guise, the production Taycan remains a bit of a mystery. Most, including yours truly, are under the assumption that the finished model won’t look all that different from the prototype (probably with a dash of Panamera). But that’s based on little more than a gut feeling and a couple of design sketches the automaker quietly released this week.
In fact, Porsche was so quiet about the drawings, it only bothered sharing them with individuals on the model’s waiting list.
Well, “free” under certain circumstances. We’re referring to the cost of recharging Porsche’s upcoming electric super sedan, and we’re certainly not referring to the time it takes to reach triple-digit speeds.
As it prepares to launch a vehicle that truly deserves the overused title of “Tesla fighter,” Porsche has a perk it wants would-be owners to know about: industry-beating charging speed, at no cost to the operator.
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- Jeff S @Lou_BC--Diamonds are not really rare DeBeers dominates the diamond market and created the market with advertising starting in the 1930s thru the 40s. Before that time diamonds were for the most part considered for the wealthy and diamond wedding rings were not that common. Go back 100 years and most women wore wedding bands made of gold, silver, or other metals. DeBeers dominating the diamond market also controls the supply of diamonds keeping the prices higher by restricting supply. Sound familiar? Oil companies have learned to restrict supply of oil as well.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/diamond-de-beers-marketing-campaign
- Statikboy So they named it after the worst cracker."Perhaps that’s why the autonomous dream appeals to so many - they’ve never experienced satisfaction, or even fun, whilst operating a motorcar.""This 2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo, for example, can certainly handle the drudgery of the daily commute with aplomb but can make a detour on a twisty two-lane a bit more enjoyable."While the autonomous dream doesn't appeal to me at all, I think the reason that it does appeal to so many is because it theoretically has the potential to make the drudgery of the daily commute a bit more enjoyable.
- Jeff S Arthur and I might be in the minority but we miss cars like this. We will never see cars like this again and it is what it is. I did like driving my mothers 72 Sedan Deville and her 84 Chrysler 5th Avenue with leather interior and Boise Dolby stereo along with some of the other luxury cars I drove from this era. At least I got to experience them and if I want more I can always read Corey's well written articles and watch Adam on Rare Classic Cars.
- ToolGuy "Idle," or "Shutter"? Let's don't get completely lazy.
- Jeff S Might not matter during car shortages. I have a Costco and Sam's membership which I thought about using for buying a vehicle but when the Maverick order banks opened up in June 2021 I went online to built my own Maverick and still had to go to the dealer to order it. With vehicle shortages you might still have to go to the dealer to order but it might be worth it to try to use Costco if you know what you want and are not too picky about colors and options to see what is available now especially if you don't want to wait for a vehicle. I doubt in today's environment that you would save a lot on the purchase of a new vehicle especially since many dealers are adding adjustments to market prices on top of msrp.